Skip Header

Respondent Information

Component ID: #ti1623309723

Welcome to the Respondent Information section for the American Housing Survey (AHS). If you are a current AHS respondent, you will find contact information for your region and a respondent FAQ section.  Your participation is important because your answers make a vital difference. When you respond to the American Housing Survey, you are helping your community and the nation. Your answers, combined with others, become the statistics used to make informed decisions about housing in America. We thank you for your interest and participation in the AHS.

The 2019 AHS data collection period began in June and will end no later than December.

Would you like to speak to someone about the American Housing Survey?

If you have been selected to participate in the survey and wish to speak to someone, please contact your Regional Office. Find your state on the map or the list below to locate the Regional Office servicing your area. Then call the phone number provided for that Regional Office.

List of states serviced by each Regional Office

Regional Office

Phone number

Areas Served

Atlanta

1-800-424-6974

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina

Chicago

1-800-865-6384

Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin

Denver

1-800-852-6159

Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Wyoming

Los Angeles

1-800-992-3530

Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington

New York

1-800-991-2520

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont

Philadelphia

1-800-262-4236

Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

Respondent Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. I thought that the Census Bureau operated only every ten years when it counted people. Why is the Census Bureau contacting me about the American Housing Survey (AHS)?
  2. What is the American Housing Survey(AHS) all about?
  3. Is the American Housing Survey (AHS) legitimate?
  4. Someone contacted me about the American Housing Survey (AHS). How do I verify that the phone call or visit is legitimate?
  5. Why should I participate in the American Housing Survey (AHS)?
  6. How can I respond to the American Housing Survey (AHS) or get help?
  7. How long will it take to complete the American Housing Survey (AHS)?
  8. Why was I selected for the American Housing Survey (AHS)?
  9. How do I know the personal information I provide on the American Housing Survey (AHS) will be kept confidential?
  10. How will the Census Bureau use the information collected by the American Housing Survey (AHS)?
  11. I participated in the American Housing Survey (AHS) two years ago. Why are you coming back?

 

I thought that the Census Bureau operated only every ten years when it counted people. Why is the Census Bureau contacting me about the American Housing Survey (AHS)?back to top

Besides the decennial census, which is conducted every ten years, the Census Bureau collects many different kinds of statistics through other censuses and surveys.  We conduct other censuses at regular intervals, including the Economic Census and the Census of Governments.  In addition, we conduct various surveys to collect data on a monthly basis in order to provide current information on unemployment rates, retail and wholesale trade, various manufacturing activities, new housing construction, and a number of other topics.  Also, we conduct annual surveys on business, manufacturing, governments, family income, health, and education.  You may also encounter the Census Bureau conducting collections on behalf of other agencies, like the AHS, which the Census Bureau conducts for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The American Housing Survey, collected every two years, measures housing quality and costs over time. Since the country changes rapidly, policymakers in government and private organizations need current housing information to make informed decisions about programs that will affect people of all income levels, ages, and minority groups. Your voluntary participation is essential to ensure that this survey’s results are complete and accurate so policy makers can allocate federal funds more efficiently.

What is the American Housing Survey (AHS) all about? back to top

The purpose of the American Housing Survey (AHS) is to provide up-to-date information on housing quality and housing costs.  To measure housing quality, the survey includes questions about equipment breakdowns, leaks, and other problems.  There are also questions about amenities such as garages, balconies, and patios.  To measure housing costs, the survey includes questions about mortgage and rental costs, utility costs, and repair and remodeling costs.  The AHS also asks about your household, including basic demographic and income questions.

Combining household information with housing quality and housing cost information helps to measure the housing challenges faced by homeowners and renters.  The information also helps to measure important changes in our housing stock as it ages and track when homes are remodeled or replaced.

Since our country changes rapidly, policymakers in government and private organizations need current housing information to make informed decisions about programs that will affect people of all income levels, ages, and minority groups. Your participation is essential to ensure that this survey’s results are complete and accurate so policy makers can allocate federal funds more efficiently.

Is the American Housing Survey (AHS) legitimate? back to top

Yes. Congress requires the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to collect this information under the Housing and Urban-Rural Recovery Act of 1983 (Title 12 of the U.S.C., Section 1701z-1, 1701z-2(g), and 1701z-10a.).  HUD has asked the Census Bureau to conduct the survey.  The Census Bureau has the authority to collect and protect this information under Title 13 of the U.S.C.  Section 8 of this law provides the Census Bureau with the authority to collect the information.  All information that individuals give to the Census Bureau is held in the strictest confidence by law (Title 13, U.S.C., Section 9).

Unlike the 10-year census, the American Housing Survey is a longitudinal survey, conducted every other year. The first AHS was conducted in 1973, under the name of the Annual Housing Survey. Per its name, the survey was conducted on an annual basis from 1973 to 1981, visiting the same housing units year after year. After that, it became biennial, therefore changing names to the American Housing Survey.  The AHS is designed to provide a continuing measure of housing conditions in the United States.

Although there are no penalties for not answering, each missing answer makes the national figures on housing less accurate.  Your answers may be combined with information that you give to other agencies to enhance the statistical use of these data, but all data will be kept strictly confidential.  If you wish to request that your information not be combined with information from other agencies, we ask that you notify the field representative at the time of the interview.

Someone contacted me about the American Housing Survey (AHS). How do I verify that the phone call or visit is legitimate? back to top

If you have received a letter requesting you to participate in the survey, a Census Bureau field representative will be contacting you to help complete the survey. He or she will always show you an official Census ID or provide you with his or her name and interviewer code to confirm employment with the Census Bureau.

To protect your privacy, the American Housing Survey NEVER asks for:

  • your Social Security number
  • your personal information via email
  • money or donations
  • credit card information

To verify that the phone call or visit is legitimate, please call your Census Bureau regional office and give them the name and/or interviewer code. You can find contact information for your region at www.census.gov/about/regions.html.

Why should I participate in the American Housing Survey (AHS)? back to top

The data obtained about your residence and household help to provide valuable information about current and future housing needs of the people in the United States.

Because of your cooperation and the cooperation of others, the Census Bureau is able to provide information that will aid federal, state, and local governments in planning to meet the housing needs of the people in the United States.  Policy decisions will be made with or without your input, but by participating, your voice will be heard in Washington, D.C. and your cooperation will provide a distinct service to our country.

Your answers not only represent your household but thousands of others like yours. The Census Bureau will combine your answers with answers obtained from the other households in the sample to produce collective housing information, which will be published at the national and metropolitan levels. Your participation is voluntary, but essential to the success of the survey. You may decline to answer any or all questions, but each item not answered lessens the quality of the final results. The Census Bureau field representatives need to interview every home in the survey sample to get a complete picture of the housing situation across the country. Your information will be held in the strictest confidence as required by Title 13, Section 9, of the United States Code. Your information will be used for statistical purposes only.

For new respondents, thank you for your time and effort. Your contribution makes a difference!

If this is not the first time you have participated in the American Housing Survey, please accept our gratitude for being a dependable and reliable source of information through the years.

How can I respond to the American Housing Survey (AHS) or get help? back to top

A Census Bureau field representative will contact you to help complete the survey. You can respond in one of the following ways:

  • In-person interview
  • By phone

As noted in the letter you received requesting your participation, a Census Bureau field representative will be contacting you to help complete the survey. He or she will show you an official identification card or provide you with his or her name and interviewer code to confirm employment with the Census Bureau. The field representative will ask you questions about your home and household. Some of the items covered include the number of rooms, heating and cooling equipment, and the cost of housing. If you received the letter, you will also notice an enclosed work sheet. Please complete it in advance and keep it until the field representative contacts you. It will help you answer some of the survey questions more easily.

How long will it take to complete the American Housing Survey (AHS)? back to top

It will likely take about 40 minutes for you to provide the survey information, but it may be somewhat shorter or longer, depending on your circumstances. If you were selected to participate, you should have received a letter with an enclosed work sheet.  Completing the work sheet in advance and having it available when the field representative contacts you will help you answer some of the survey questions more easily and may help shorten the interview. An agency cannot conduct, sponsor, or require a response to a collection of information unless the collection displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval number.  The OMB approval number for this survey is 2528-0017 and the expiration date is 6/30/22.

If you have any comments or suggestions about this survey, please send them to the Associate Director for Administration, Paperwork Reduction Project 2528-0017, Bureau of the Census, 4600 Silver Hill Road, Washington, DC 20233-1500 or Paperwork@census.gov.

Why was I selected for the American Housing Survey (AHS)? back to top

The Census Bureau chose your address, not you personally, from a scientifically selected sample of addresses from a list of ALL the residential addresses in the country. Only a sample is selected because interviewing every address in the country would cost too much and take too long. If you were to move, this address would remain in the survey, not your new one.

How do I know the personal information I provide on the American Housing Survey (AHS) will be kept confidential? back to top

The U.S. Census Bureau is required by law to protect your information. The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in a way that could identify this household. Federal law protects your privacy and keeps your answers confidential (Title 13, United States Code, Section 9(a)). Your answers may be combined with information that you give to other agencies. By law, the Census Bureau can only use your responses for statistical research. For more information, please visit the Census Bureau’s website on combining data: www.census.gov/about/what/admin-data.html.

Per the Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2015, your data are protected from cybersecurity risks through screening of the systems that transmit your data. Disclosure of the information provided to us is permitted under the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. § 552a) and may be shared with other Census Bureau staff for the work-related purposes identified in this statement. Disclosure of this information is also subject to the published routine uses as identified in the Privacy Act System of Records Notice COMMERCE/Census-3, Demographic Survey Collection (Census Bureau Sampling Frame). Furnishing this information is voluntary. Failure to provide this information may affect the Census Bureau’s ability to collect information on U.S. housing quality and costs.

How will the Census Bureau use the information collected by the American Housing Survey (AHS)? back to top

Because Title 13 guarantees the confidentiality of your information, the Census Bureau will combine the information you provide with that of others to produce publically available statistics at the national and metropolitan levels.

Data products dating back to 1973 are available at http://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/ahs/data.html.  They include:

(Note: Not all historical data are available in every format listed above.)

To be efficient, the Census Bureau attempts to obtain information you may have given to other agencies if you have participated in other government programs. We do so because it helps to ensure your data are complete, and it reduces the number of questions you are asked on this survey. The same confidentiality laws that protect your survey answers also protect any additional information we collect (Title 13, U.S.C., Section 9). If you wish to request that your information not be combined with information from other agencies, we ask that you notify the field representative at the time of the interview.

I participated in the American Housing Survey (AHS) two years ago. Why are you coming back? back to top

The AHS is a longitudinal housing unit survey, which means it re-interviews the same housing units every other year to measure changes over time. Census Bureau field representatives return to obtain a measure of the changes (or lack of changes) that have taken place in housing units in the United States, the physical conditions of the housing units, and the characteristics of the occupants. As a result, a field representative may contact this address again in a few years. If you should move away, the new occupants would be interviewed.

If this is not the first time you have participated in the American Housing Survey, please accept our gratitude for being a dependable and reliable source of information through the years.

X
  Is this page helpful?
Thumbs Up Image Yes    Thumbs Down Image No
X
Comments or suggestions?
No, thanks
255 characters remaining
X
Thank you for your feedback.
Comments or suggestions?
Back to Header